Wednesday, March 16, 2016


I'm sensing disappointment with President Obama's Supreme Court pick -- Merrick Garland, who's white, male, moderate, and too old at age 63 to be on the Court for forty years.

But the president didn't choose someone to put on the Court. He chose someone to be blockaded. I think it was a canny choice.

Republicans have said they won't consider anybody. Really? the president is saying. You won't even consider this guy? Remember, he's been praised by Orrin Hatch:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Newsmax last week that President Obama “could easily name Merrick Garland, who is a fine man” to the Supreme Court.

But he quickly added, “He probably won’t do that because this appointment is about the election. So I’m pretty sure he’ll name someone the liberal Democratic base wants.”
And before that, there was this, in 2010 (hat tip: Adam Weinstein):
A Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Thursday he would help moderate jurist Merrick Garland win Senate confirmation if President Barack Obama nominated him to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senator Orrin Hatch said he had known the federal appeals court judge, seen as a leading contender for the Supreme Court, for years and that he would be "a consensus nominee."

Asked if Garland would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support, Hatch told Reuters, "No question."

"I have no doubts that Garland would get a lot of (Senate) votes. And I will do my best to help him get them," added Hatch, a former Judiciary Committee chairman.
Also this:

So they're going to block someone who's been acceptable to them for years.

Chris Hayes says:

But you already have Donald Trump's likely nomination as a reason for non-whites and white progressives to vote Democratic. This pick motivates Democratic voters who are a little closer to the center. Frankly, some of those voters are likely to be ... well, not racist exactly, but people who'd find an African-American or Indian-American nominee less relatable. Obama knows this. If these voters can be motivated to vote Democratic in November by Republican intransigence, they're most likely to respond to a blockade of someone they can identify with.

So I get what Obama's doing. Now let's see how the Republicans react. And if they say, "Well, we told you 'Hell, no,' but we changed our minds," they might pay a price with their base in November.


Feud Turgidson said...

Steve M., I'm going further: in my view, President Obama has nominated the best candidate for the SCOTUS period.

I don't just mean 'in these peculiar circumstances'. Garland is the lawyer's lawyer, the judge's judge. If there were a votes on these matters by every attorney in the nation and by every judge in the nation, I have no doubt that Garland would among the top 5 in the first and would be at the top of the second.

But even that doesn't capture the brilliance of this nomination: this SCOTUS has two big needs plus one desperate one. It needs another criminal law expert; it needs another administrative law expert; and it desperately needs who would become its ONLY antitrust expert.

That last one is actually alarming: if one goes back to the federal courts appointments of each of both Roosevelts, Wilson, Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Carter, yes even GWB Bush, and dammit even to some extent first term Reagan, the one single golden thread that runs through the thousands of judges nominated by those 16 White Houses is an understanding of the dangers of business trusts and the necessity of a federal court system that gets the dangers of economic monopolies and monopsonies, and the need to bust trusts or at least regulate the oligarchical tendencies in the American economic system.

Garland is an order of magnitude more adept and solid on antitrust law than even Breyer and Notorious.

ransomweaver said...

Ditto the Turgid one. And lets not overthink this; its the hallmark incremental progress of Obama. He thinks he can get this congress to approve this nominee. And its no accident that this comes the day after Trump's latest primary romp. I guarantee you every Repub senator who's name is not Cruz or Lee or Sessions is looking at Trump and this nominee and thinking "Fuk me, I won't see another SCOTUS candidate this appealing in my lifetime". Insofar as it serves progressive policy, It may not suddenly mark the return of the Warren court, but it will cripple the ability of the conservative wing to play havoc with progress in the next two decades. And that's a dagger in the heart of movement conservatism. Its a bonus that the electoral optics of both obstruction and acquiescence (Steve's last point) are so good.

Gerald Parks said...

ANOTHER brilliant chess move by POTUS Obama!

The current crop of GOP/Republican Senators are finding it increasingly difficult to hide their obstructionism and wear the hoods they are so comfortable in.

The GOP/Republican front runner's hostile take over of the Party is putting the white supremacist ideology that is the foundation and source of American racism ...front and center of the MSM conversation for the next 9 months!

Can't wait to see the baby!

Victor said...

I remember his name being mentioned at or near the top of the list. Everone said he was... is, a model judge.

That Wascawwy Wabbit, Bugs Obama, has once again managed to out maneuver the party of Elmer Fudd's.

Now, the ball's in the Senate's GOP led Judiciary Committee.

And, since if Trump wins, he's liable to nominate Judge Judy, this is a test of the Republican's sense of patriotism.

And if Hillary wins, she's liable to put Sri on the SC first, followed by some more activist judges if/when the oportunity arises - including minorities, women, and, maybe... Dare we think it?... a gay justice!

The balls's in your court on this Supreme Court nomination, GOP!
'What dopes!
What maroons!!!'

CH said...

Well... maybe. As inside-baseball moves go, O's pick has its merits. I'm just not all that convinced that an R blockade of Garland or anyone else, particularly if done with some finesse, is going to motivate many voters, given the other gaudy distractions afforded by the presidential and congressional races. After all, as has been pointed out here on numerous occasions, the R's seldom seem to pay electoral prices for positions/actions which appear patently unhinged at the time. (Example, the 2013 govt shutdown followed by the 2014 R romp.)

mlbxxxxxx said...

Another wrinkle in this is that, I assume, should the Rs stop Garland's appt., he will remain as the Chief Judge on the DC Circuit -- a court that will hear lots of cases the Rs are interested in. Consequently, they face the Hobson's choice of folding and approving O's nominee or mounting a resistance that could piss off a judge who will preside over future cases before the DC Circuit in which they have an interest.

Ten Bears said...

All are valid points, but I think you're right, he called the Retard's bluff, pure and simple. And mlb's take really stands out, though Garland doesn't strike me as one who gets "pissed off" along those lines. Eleventh dimensional chess at its finest.

For a guy I didn't for, I am impressed.
Probably go down in my book up there not with Teddy but certainly Frank, Ike, Johnson and Carter.

AllieG said...

McConnell got too cute, and Obama's response trapped him. If the Republicans had simply waited for a nominee, held hearings and voted him/her down, the average voter would have shrugged and said "that's politics." But by not even holding hearings, the Senators are vulnerable to a "do your damn job" attack that plays to the average voter's belief that Congress is a nest of lazy, gutless, grifting SOBs.

Riverboat Grambler said...

Oh goodness yes, give the Republicans what they want and then bask in the glow of being "the adult in the room" when they refuse to take it. BRILLANT! I'm sure this time all of America will turn against the Republicans once they finally see how extreme they are. I mean, they didn't really do it last time, or any of the times before that, but boy howdy this is going to be it! Hooray for eleventh dimensional chess, even if it never seems to pay off, ever.

I highly doubt that R's blocking a moderate GOP-approved SCOTUS nominee is going to be the tipping point for anyone who still isn't sure if they're going to vote. Not even for the Dem party centrists who "aren't exactly racist" but just don't want to see anyone on the court who isn't white.

Lit3Bolt said...

Also, Garland is tough enough and won't weep in his pillow if he doesn't get on the bench. He's got a solid appointment already, and this doesn't spoil the chances of a more diverse, younger future Democratic judicial candidate of ever getting on the SCOTUS bench.

Republicans are going to try to make this entire process "The Bork Strikes Back," even if Obama nominated Solomon.

Feud Turgidson said...

McSchwing, First, it's not that the Republican party 'wants' Garland (tho more than a few Republican Senators wouldn't be at all unhappy with him, and not just that moving peashell game called itself Orrin Hatch). It's that some of those who grift in the states with the highest concentrations of ideological rubes would prefer someone not overty progressive in agenda. As I pointed out way above, the prospect of Garland on the SCOTUS is bad news for one of most reliable and lucractive customer demographics of the Votes For Sale Republican party, oligarchs.

Second, you're guessing. I'd go further to call your guess 'conventional', 'facile' or 'lazy', or something like those but I'm assuming you just posted without thinking this thru.
Merrick Garland cried today. He expressed his feelings, and he articulated his gratitude. And from this day thru October, he's going to spend an enormous amount of time doing both those things, and a lot more, on TV talk shows, cable, comic, morning, day and evening, giving talks on the Rule of Law, on the critical role of the courts in our system of goverment, granting interviews with leading dead tree and online publications, showing off his qualifications, displaying his humility, decency and trustworthiness, and making every one of those appearances count as an investment in process - and in that, there's actually a pretty darn good chance that, totally inadvertently, he'll sway some votes, possibly a lot of votes, in favor of the D nominee and D senators in particular.